Migration dominates Austrian elections

  • Michaela Ceklová
  • 17.10.2017 18:06

The result of the Austrian elections on October 15 confirmed the anti-immigration sentiment as an emerging trend which will certainly be reflected in other parliamentary elections in Western Europe. Following the count of correspondence votes, the Free Party of Austria (FPÖ), considered far-right, anti-immigration and anti-Islamic, finished third after the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) and the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ). A similar rhetoric that elected the FPÖ also made the German right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany (AFD) the third strongest in Germany after the September elections.

The FPÖ has the ambition to join the Visegrad Four's counter-immigration policy and therefore mainly focused on radical Islam and migration during the campaign. Its leader Heinz-Christian Strache said that "not every Muslim is a terrorist but almost every terrorist in Europe was a radical Islamist in the past". In addition to its uncompromising stance on migration, the FPÖ is also eurosceptic. Euroscepticism also links the FPÖ and the ÖVP since ÖVP Chairman Sebastian Kurz criticises the EU for its inadequate action against security threats, particularly regarding the security of external borders. The ÖVP, Kurz in particular, has been the most involved in closing the Balkan migration route and has also used the issue of migration in the election. Conversely, the SPÖ's election outcome reflects an inadequate handling of the migration wave. Although Kurz has not yet indicated which party the FPÖ will form a coalition with, most analysts believe that the next government will represent a political turn to the right in the form of a ÖVP-FPÖ coalition.

About author: Michaela Ceklová

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